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What are the challenges and unique advantages of using poetry in the EFL classroom?

One challenge of using poetry in the EFL classroom is poetry's tendency toward unexpected uses of language, including idioms that may not be easily understood by those not quite familiar with the language of the poem. A benefit of using poetry is that the complete text is typically much shorter than other literary options, allowing students to read and understand a complete idea in a shorter amount of time.

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Using poetry in an English as a foreign language (EFL) or English as a second language (ESL) classroom has been shown as an effective means of teaching vocabulary—as long as students are given the chance to respond personally to the poetry, making it meaningful to them. Teachers may find it useful to comb through a poem for vocabulary and then ask students to provide similar words that could be used for examples in the poem. Activities such as this one require that students use context clues and learn fine distinctions between similar vocabulary words.

Students may also feel...

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